BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -- The burden of being a caregiver is usually shouldered silently, but it’s especially hard right now when there’s no one to talk to.
According to the AARP, 45 million people act as unpaid caregivers regularly, taking care of loved ones who have conditions like Alzheimer's or dementia.
"Caregivers are not necessarily strangers to emergency situations and trying to figure things out for themselves, but right now emotional, mental stress has increased more than anything else,” said Brittany Huey, Program Manager at Alabama Lifespan Respite.
Caregivers are taking on added responsibility across the board.
"You've gotta figure out how to do your job, you've gotta be a nurse, if you've got kiddos you have to figure out how to be a teacher as well,” said Huey.
Triple duty, triple stress.
"It's definitely an arc that you're on in the caregiving journey, and it changes every day,” said Maura Horton, Caregiver Coach Advisor.
During the pandemic, the lows can be steep.
"It is extra isolating as a caregiver and a care receiver, but more so for the caregiver because you may notice changes in the day that you really can’t connect with,” said Horton.
It's important for caregivers to recharge, too.
"A lot of our caregivers don't put their own oxygen mask on before they put somebody else's on, so we do have to stress that self-care is important,” said Huey.
You can visit alabamarespite.org to connect with resources for caregivers in Alabama.
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